Kathryn Claire has a distinctive relationship with the holidays, and the world as a whole, that’s affected how she made “Winter Songs,” the eclectic assortment of music that …
Kathryn Claire has a distinctive relationship with the holidays, and the world as a whole, that’s affected how she made “Winter Songs,” the eclectic assortment of music that she’ll be performing at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at Northwind Arts Center in Port Townsend.
Like many musicians, Claire came from a musical family, with a mother who taught music in public school and a grandfather who played violin (which she began playing at the age of 7), but Claire was the first one to try and make a career as a professional musician.
But her family connected her not only to music, but to other parts of the world, since her grandfather was a Dutch immigrant, which led Claire to visit her relatives in Amsterdam three times between the ages of 10 to 18, and her father took her family to live in Japan when she was in high school.
“They’re all very different countries, but I’ve built up a little network between them,” Claire said. “When you travel, the world becomes smaller, and it can become even more interconnected through music.”
Even when she’s performing back home in the Pacific Northwest, Claire credited her travels and experiences in other countries and cultures with providing her with stories and flavors of music to share.
“For my ‘Winter Songs,’ I’ll be performing French and Czech carols alongside old-time fiddle tunes such as ‘Cold and Frosty Morning,’” Claire said. “It’s not so much about the holidays or more traditional American carols, although some of my instrumentals do hint at those, as it is about winter as a season.”
Whether she’s playing original compositions, or covering tunes such as Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Song for a Winter’s Night,” Claire expresses enthusiasm for “celebrating our literal darkest days, before they return to the light,” and while her “Winter Songs” are not religious, she associates them strongly with sharing the holidays with her family members over the years.
“We always sang and played together,” Claire said. “Music was a huge part of how we celebrated the holidays, and spent our lives.”
Northwind Arts Center was one of five venues in the Pacific Northwest where Claire performed “Winter Songs” last year, accompanied by Don Henson on piano, and Northwind will be one of nine Northwest venues where Claire and Henson perform “Winter Songs” this year, joined by fellow violinist Sid Ditson.
Claire noted how her music tours have brought her closer to both Henson and Ditson, since she’s toured extensively with Henson in the Pacific Northwest, while Ditson joined her during a tour of the Netherlands and Belgium.
“It lets us build on what we’ve started together,” Claire said. “It’s nice having another violinist, because the violin is such an incredible instrument for conveying heart and joy. Some of our songs get the crowds stomping their feet, while for others, the audience might feel like singing along. Either way, it allows people to share in the experience of the music as a community.”
Claire is looking forward to returning to Northwind as well.
“I just love the space,” Claire said. “I love being surrounded by beautiful works of art, and the acoustics ensure the sound is so lovely. It’s a warm, celebratory venue.”
Tickets to “Winter Songs” are $20 each from kclairenorthwind.brownpapertickets.com, at Northwind Arts Center or at the door.
For more information, contact Northwind Arts Center at 360-379-1086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.